Friday, 9 July 2010

WSJ Photo Journal: Sayyida Zeinab Shrine

Photo © Suhaib Salem/Reuters-All Rights Reserved

Readers and followers of this blog know that I am always interested in religious rituals of all sorts because it's during these rites, festivals and traditional events that devotees are devoid of day-to-day artificiality.

The WSJ Photo Journal recently posted the above photograph of devotees praying at the Sayyida Zeinab shrine in old Cairo commemorating her birthday. Zeinab was the daughter of Ali and the grand-daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. There's a disagreement as to whether she was interred in Damascus in a shrine bearing her name, or in Cairo.

Al Sayyida Zeinab is the patron saint of Cairo, and her shrine is located in mosque that bears her name. It was renovated and rebuilt many times since her death. The mosque is typical of the Mameluke style, and the cenotaph (seen in the photograph) is enclosed within a finely worked bronze grille.

This commemoration has now been added to my list of events to photograph. Hopefully next year in Cairo!